On or around June 21st, the following will happen:
- The RC will become the final release, assuming a respin is not required. (If it is, you will be prompted to "upgrade to 5.0." Just do it, trademark of Nike, Inc.) General users will then be offered it.
- 4.0 users will be also offered 4.0.3. This is a security update for 4.0 and will be the last of the 4.0.x TenFourFox releases. It will also have the fix for issue 63. They can choose to stay with 4.0 if they have extensions that require it, or jump to 5. Note that we will be somewhat forcing people to stay in update order; i.e., if you skip 5, you will be still offered the update to 5, which you should do; then update to 6. The reason is to allow the browser to rebuild certain databases that may change from version to version.
- Builders: new patches against mozilla-release instead of mozilla-beta will be available at that time as well. I expect little or no changes, but you should use those patch sets and that repo. If Mozilla offers source for Firefox 5, then we'll work up a wiki document about applying your changes to that, because mozilla-release will be unmaintained, used only for chemspills, and will be overwritten by the next version. If they do not keep a source tarball around -- which admittedly would not be SOP for them -- then we will have to and our tarball will have the patches already applied.
Onward to 6. Unlike the transition from 4 to 5, there is a lot more in the transition from 5 to 6 due to a full refresh cycle. However, we are less likely to have the initial panic I had trying to get 5 together because we are now compatible with the current Mozilla build system using Tobias' ported linker and I am not aware of any large changes in that, in IPC or in NSPR, so the odds of jumping to 6, while never guaranteed, look pretty good.
Plugins will be pref-ed off in 6 and there will be more switches for that so that you can at least still use them in 6, or use them in less unsafe situations, albeit without a safety net. By 7, however, I have a pretty strong premonition that they will break in major ways. We'll see. Even though we "have" IPC in 5.0, it is a gutted and almost completely non-functional IPC library in 10.4, present merely to make the build system happy and give it something to link against, and so plugins remain in-process.
Speaking of, a number of you had voiced concern about Mozilla moving too quickly with version numbers and leaving extensions behind (part of why I'm hedging our bets a little with 4.0.3). It does certainly seem like this is on Mozilla's mind as well, which is the apparent reason behind a meeting on risk mitigation they have scheduled before the formal Firefox 5 release. However, it appears clear that right or wrong, good or bad, rapid release is here to stay. Let's all curse Google Chrome together.
Release notes and builds for 5 RC: